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September 23, 2019

Google launches new gaming subscription service days after Apple

Photos | CNN A building on Google's California campus.

Just days after the launch of Apple Arcade, Google is introducing its own subscription game service.

The new service, called Google Play Pass, will give Android users access to more than 350 apps and games that are free of ads, in-app purchases and upfront payments. It'll cost $4.99 per month -- the same price as Apple Arcade.

Apple and Google's new services aren't identical, however. Apple Arcade offers a catalog of over 100 exclusive games, while Google Play Pass will have apps and games that are already available on the Play Service, including Facetune and Stardew Valley. Both companies said new additions will be made to the services each month.

Google is offering a 10-day free trial and a launch promotion price of $1.99 per month for a year for users who purchase before October 10, 2019.

Subscriptions can be shared with up to five other family members and will be available in the United States first and in other countries "soon."

Google also disclosed that Play Pass usage will be measured to track how much developers earn, as well as to inform developers how people use their apps. The company said it will not share personal or individual usage information.

The new service has the potential to impact mobile gaming by giving indie titles included in the subscription more attention -- they won't have to compete in the crowded Google Play store. Indie games typically cost a few dollars and aren't on the top-grossing charts, but a presence in the subscription service will give them more exposure.

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